These are memes started by Teach Mentor Texts and Book Journey, and I'm excited to participate, along with many other bloggers, in reviewing books I read the previous week. I'll be reviewing picture books through adult books.
These are the titles I read this week:
I'm continuing my journey through all the Babymouse books. Love these two! Again, don't let the cuteness (although, they ARE cute!) fool you - there are sophisticated layers of humor in these Babymouse books! Younger kids will love Babymouse's personality and antics, and you can use them for older kids to point out allusions. OR, you can just all read them for a great laugh!
I paired these up for my civil right movement unit for groups to read, and we just finished them. I reread each of them as I taught them and once again appreciated the great storytelling! What I love about both these books is that they teach the horrors of racism layered with every day problems and triumphs kids face. My students loved both of them, and we had lots to discuss! Watch for an upcoming blog post featuring the book trailers we're going to make for them using Animoto.
2012-book, adventure, allusion, books-for-boys, fairy-tale, fantasy-science-fiction, humor, intermediate-kids-book, point-of-view
I didn't listen to the audio version of this one, but I still heard the voice of the audio version of A Tale Dark and Grimm in my head. This one still has the humorous narrator popping in to warn the reader of the upcoming violence and mayhem. I laughed aloud just like I did while listening to the first one. However, I think this one might have gone a bit overboard with the gross factor. My students (especially boys) liked it just as much, though, and they are the ultimate judges of children's literature. This one features Jack and Jill and alludes to well known tales such as "The Emperor's New Clothes," "Snow White," and Mother Goose rhymes. But there are more obscure references, too, which Gidwitz explains at the end. I loved that he even used a Car Talk story as a source. The title and story structure reflects a scripture verse! So if you want to teach your students to pay attention to allusions and have fun with fractured tales, Gidwitz's books are for you (and all the boys in your class)!
Good Night, Laila Tov by Laurel Snyder
cats, dogs, family, figurative-language, kindness, multicultural, nature, poetry, sensory-details, setting, spiritual, theme
I read this for the #SharpSchu Twitter book club in February with Laurel Snyder. A family goes on an adventure, and the parents plant trees in the Jewish tradition of tikkun olam, or repairing the world. It's such a sweet book of nature, family, and the idea that kindness and peace make the world a better place.
The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier
2013-book, adult-fiction, audio-book, historical-fiction, slavery
Interview with Tracy Chevalier about The Last Runaway:
I am a huge fan of Tracy Chevalier and loved Girl With a Pearl Earring and Remarkable Creatures. Honor Bright is an English Quaker who travels to America with her sister, who is to be married, in 1850. Tragedy befalls them, though, when her sister dies. Honor ends up moving in with her sister's betrothed and his family in Ohio, but is very uncomfortable with them. She meets and marries a man in their small community who is also a Quaker. Adam is a good man and treats her well, but she is not satisfied. Honor becomes involved in helping runaway slaves, but her husband's family does not approve. She becomes angry and withdrawn, even going without speaking for some time. She eventually leaves the family home even though she is pregnant. Honor never seems like a completely sympathetic character. She is critical and discontent, and unbelievably falls for the slave catcher. I did like the ending, but for me, Honor was never a likable protagonist. The audio version didn't do the story any favors, unfortunately.
The Runaway King by Jennifer Nielson
2013-book, adventure, arc, books-for-boys, character-development, fantasy-science-fiction, intermediate-kids-book, series
I read this as an ARC from NetGalley. I can not tell you how enthusiastic I am about this series. I love the writing - it draws you right into the action, and Sage/Jaron is a likable, accessible, yet complicated character. This sequel to the New York Times bestseller, The False Prince, jumps right back in to adventure with an assassination attempt on Jaron's life, which prompts him to run away and hide his identity once again. Pirates become a focus in this one, and Jaron has to figure out who is a friend and who is a foe. Throw in a little complicated romance (Amarinda or Imogen?), and you've got yourself a swashbuckling fantasy that kids are going to LOVE! Both would make fantastic read alouds. Watch for its release on March 1st! Stay tuned because Paramount is making a movie adaptation of The False Prince:
Book Trailer for The False Prince:
The Conductor by Laetitia Devernay